Archive | February 12th, 2017

Sayyed Nasrallah: Victorious Hezbollah Not Afraid of “Foolish” President at White House

Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah
Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah stressed on Sunday that the party, which has always emerged victorious from all the wars and challenges, is not afraid of the US “foolish” president Donald Trump.

Sayyed Nasrallah maintained that the former US president Barack Obama was hypocritical in a way that his administration created ISIL to distort the image of Islam, Coran and the Prophet; supported Saudi war on Yemen, starving thousands of the Yemenis; and backed the oppressive regime in Bahrain.

“Trump has not come up with anything new. He just revealed the real face of the racist, oppressive and ugly US administration,” Sayyed Nasrallah added, “We have to thank him for this.”

Commenting on some media reports and journalistic articles which mentioned that Hezbollah is worried and afraid of the advent Trump, Sayyed Nasrallah reiterated that the Resistance defeated the Zionist and NATO enemy in 1982 despite its weaknesses, adding that the party has been  emerging victorious from all the wars and military challenges imposed by the Zio-American foes in 1985, 2000, 2006 and currently in Syria.

His eminence asserted that the religious belief held by Hezbollah makes victory inevitable, adding that neither Trump nor his ancestors can mess with our faith.

“We consider that having a foolish president at the White House as good news to the vulnerable people across the world.”

During Hezbollah ceremony to commemorate the party late official Sheikh Hussein Obeid, Sayyed Nasrallah emphasized that the party supports any the ceasefire agreement in Syria concluded in Astana, denying the media reports which accused Hezbollah of rejecting the truce.


During Hezbollah ceremony to commemorate the party late official Sheikh Hussein Obeid in Baalbek city in northeastern Lebanon, Sayyed Nasrallah emphasized that the party supports the ceasefire agreement concluded in Astana and the reconciliation pacts among the Syrians in Syria, denying the media reports which accused Hezbollah of rejecting the truce.

Sayyed Nasrallah added that the countries themselves which own those media outlets are still funding and arming the armed groups to continue the war in Syria.

Sayyed Nasrallah also pointed out that Iran stands by any political settlement to end the crisis in Syria, adding that Hezbollah has contributed to the internal reconciliations in Syria.

His eminence noted that Hezbollah has worked with the Syrian government and a number of countries to treat the hard conditions of the besieged towns like Foua, Kefraya, Zabadani, Madaya and others.

Sayyed Nasrallah said that there are no forced demographic changes in Syria and called on Muslim, Arab and independent delegations to visit Syria to verify that there are no demographic changes, adding that these lies are aimed at sectarian incitement.

The countries and the media outlets which promote such reports lost all the logical reasons for continuing the war so they resort to such lies and claims, according to Sayyed Nasrallah.

Sayyed Nasrallah also tackled the issue of the Syrian refugees in Lebanon, saying that the military victories in Syria, the last of which in Aleppo, have opened the door for national reconciliations in Syria and turned vast areas of Syria into safe regions.

“This is based on observations, not reports.”

Sayyed Nasrallah said the Syrian refugees issue pressures all the Lebanese who must tackle it in a humanitarian way, asking whether it is suitable to keep begging for international aid in face of this crisis or to cooperate to return most refugees to their towns, villages, cities and homes.

Sayyed Nasrallah called on Lebanon government to communicate with the Syrian authorities in order to provide the suitable conditions for the refugees to return to Syria, adding that the fear of vengeance can be eliminated by sending verification committees to the Syrian towns which witnessed reconciliation to see how all the Syrians, even by the ex-fighters, are living peacefully.

“We will be told that these people fear to return out of concern over the regime’s vengeance, and I tell them that they can go to Syria to live in security and safety.”

Hezbollah leader stressed that the party is ready to help the Lebanese government which must end its stubbornness and talk to the Syrian government regarding this file.
“Why do you contact the states which created ISIL and al-Nusra and you don’t communicate with the Syrian government to address a humanitarian file of this importance?”

Drawing a general conclusion about the situation in Syria, Sayyed Nasrallah mentioned the following points:

1. The main threat to the very existence of the state in Syria is repelled.
2. The possibility that the terrorist groups control Syria is eliminated to a large extent, knowing that the remaining part of the territories controlled by ISIL is mainly desert.
3. Turkey, which had supported and funded ISIL, decided to fight it for the terrorist group has struck the Turkish cities.
4. The US administration vowed to eradicate ISIL established by the former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton.
5. The Europeans have decided to seriously fight ISIL.
6. The whole world discovered that “hotel” opposition does not represent the field stance and that the so-called “moderate” armed groups are a small portion of the terrorist groups which control swathes of territories.

Based on what was mentioned, Sayyed Nasrallah stressed that, after Aleppo victory, the course of the crisis in Syria has been changing, adding that all the world decided to fight whom Hezbollah has moved to battle for six years.


Domestically, Sayyed Nasrallah highlighted the importance of approving an electoral law which adopts proportionality, considering that it is fair and gives all the parties their real representation.

Sayyed Nasrallah added that the majority electoral law is exclusionary, calling on all the Lebanese parties to sustain the political stability in Lebanon and hold the parliamentary elections.

Hezbollah leader also hailed the efforts exerted by the political and security authorities in Lebanon to protect it from all the dangers, stressing the vitality of keeping the security stability in the country.

Sayyed Nasrallah also called on the government to avoid imposing taxes on the poor in Lebanon, calling on the cabinet, which is mulling the budget, to cope with corruption which is wasting the public funds.

Late Hezbollah Official Sheikh Hussein Obeid

Sayyed Nasrallah started his speech by lamenting the late official Sheikh Hussien Obeid, highlighting his contributions to Hezbollah establishment as well as his jihadi and scholarly feats.

“Sheikh Hussein Obeid joined the pious, jihadi movement since its beginning. He was the guru and the problem-solver whom people used to resort to.”

“Sayyed Nasrallah: Sheikh Hussein Obeid was one of the nine members of the establishing board of Hezbollah in 1982.”

Hezbollah Commemoration Ceremony

The ceremony started with a blessed recital of Holy Coran verses before broadcasting a video that shows the main contribution of the late official.

Sheikh Abdul Karim Obeid, the late official’s son, also delivered the family’s speech which elegized Sheikh Hussein.

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Saud Zio-Wahhabi Dynasty Still Squandering in an Age of Austerity  

Al Saud Dynasty Still Squandering in an Age of Austerity

Saudi princes at a luxurious palace in Riyadh
Saudi princes at a luxurious palace in Riyadh

Although the Saudi government canceled a quarter of a trillion dollars’ worth of projects back home as part of a fiscal austerity program, workers hustled to finish bright blue landing pads for helicopters at the vacation compound and to erect a tent the size of a circus big-top where the king could feast and entertain his enormous retinue, The New York Times introduced its long article which details the Saudi regime’s financial crimes.

“The people have less money than before, but the royal family have the same,” said Prince Khalid bin Farhan al-Saud, a dissident member of the extended family living in Germany. “There is a lot of state money which is concealed from the budget, which is determined by the king alone.”

“The royal family’s fortune derives from the reserves of petroleum discovered during the reign of Salman’s father, King Abdulaziz ibn Saud, more than 75 years ago. The sale of oil provides billions of dollars in annual allowances, public-sector sinecures and perks for royals, the wealthiest of whom own French chateaus and Saudi palaces, stash money in Swiss bank accounts, wear couture dresses under their abayas and frolic on some of the world’s biggest yachts out of sight of commoners.”

The American newspaper added that while there are serious problems beyond the borders, it is the country’s economic troubles that risk roiling ordinary citizens if their own cradle-to-grave benefits are cut too much.

“Many royals are wary of any disclosures about their wealth that could provoke public criticism.”

The article also revealed that facing huge budget gaps, the government has cut public-sector pay along with subsidies, sending gasoline, electricity and even water bills higher.

“The kingdom has begun borrowing by the billions both at home and abroad. And hiring by the government — a large and sought after employer for Saudis — has been cut, instilling fear for the future in younger people who cannot find work.”

Source: The New York Times

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Vanessa Beeley: Heated Debate on Western Media’s Coverage of the Liberation of East Aleppo


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21st Century Wire says…

Why is western media painting the liberation of Aleppo as a grim doomsday scenario as the liberated citizens dance and celebrate in the street?

21WIRE reporter, Vanessa Beeley, joins experts for a heated debate on western media’s coverage of the liberation of east Aleppo on RT along with Executive director at the Ron Paul institute, Daniel McAdams, and Columnist for ‘The Hill’ Brent Budowsky, as well as RT International’s Deputy Head of News Alexey Kuznetsov. Watch:

READ MORE SYRIA NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Syria Files

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Final Judgment Special Double Offer


Final Judgment: The Missing Link in the JFK Assassination Conspiracy, Volumes 1 & 2

  • Volume 1 & 2 of Michael Collins Piper’s most famous work, now in its Seventh Edition.
  • Documents that JFK’s efforts to prevent Israel from building nuclear weapons of mass destruction played a key role in the conspiracy behind JFK’s assassination.
  • Elements of the CIA and organized crime were involved in the JFK conspiracy, but the role of Israel’s intelligence agency, the Mossad, was the long-suppressed “missing link” that was finally unveiled in this titanic work.

When Final Judgment was first released in 1994, even some critics of Israel were skeptical of Michael Collins Piper’s allegation that Israel’s intelligence agency, the Mossad, had been involved in the JFK

conspiracy. Despite this, Final Judgment became an overnight “underground best-seller” and now—more than two decades later—continues to be “must” reading among patriots all across America.

In spite of intense opposition, more than 50,000 copies are now in circulation throughout the U.S. and around the world. Yet, now, copies are harder than ever to come by.

Described by many readers as the definitive “last word” on the JFK conspiracy, Final Judgment has sparked headlines in newspapers here and abroad. And the Israeli lobby has worked overtime to try to stop this book from being distributed.

Final Judgment dissects the theories you’ve heard over the years about the JFK assassination and demonstrates the one little-known thing they have in common: the long-secret Israeli connection.

Now in two volumes, this extraordinary work demonstrates beyond any doubt that JFK was involved in a bitter, behind-the-scenes battle with Israel over that nation’s determined effort to build nuclear weapons of mass destruction, and that the Israeli connection to the murder of President Kennedy is the common thread that ties together the whole amazing story of the JFK assassination in a way that finally makes sense.

Final Judgment: Volume I contains the main text of the book plus Mike’s amazing photo section (softcover, 425 pages). Final Judgment: Volume 2 comprises the 10 extremely detailed appendices referenced again and again in the main body of the book (softcover, 374 pages).

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Jewish Nazi colonists caught on video threatening to kill Palestinians in Hebron

Image result for Jewish settlers CARTOON

Extremely disgraceful!!#Video | Israeli settlers insult Palestinians, perform offensive gestures, and shout with bad words and hate speeches, "where is the Arab community? Arabs gave up on you, and they support us now!"#alhadath24#Palestine

Posted by Alhadath24 on Friday, February 10, 2017

A group of Nazi Jewish settlers rode a red ATV into a densely populated Palestinian area in the West Bank city of Hebron yesterday to taunt and threaten locals. The incident was recorded by Hebron 90.4 FM’s correspondent Musab Shaawer and shared online by Palestinian media.

“Where are all the Arabs? They left you and joined us,”  Nazi Jewish settler yells in the video to Palestinians nearby while a group of young women accompanying him look on and laugh. “We go to heaven, you go to hell,” he adds.

And in a final ominous warning the settler says: “If war breaks out the Jews will come here and evict and kill you all.”

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Britain’s sickening infatuation with I$raHell continues

Britain’s sickening infatuation with Israel continues

Iran still the victim of unshakable Israeli influence over the UK’s political establishment

By Stuart Littlewood

Here in the UK the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) has initiated a judicial review in a bid to halt UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia on suspicion that they are being used against civilians in Yemen. The indiscriminate nature of Saudi air-strikes makes it highly likely that British weaponry is being deployed in breach of international humanitarian law.

The slaughter has been going on for nearly two years, leading to a humanitarian crisis of appalling magnitude and great cruelty. Since the Yemen campaign began the British government has granted export licences for more than £3.3 billions worth of war equipment when there was a “clear risk” that some of it would be used in violation of all norms of human conduct.

It is claimed that the government has ignored warnings by senior civil servants and its own arms control experts, and some records of expressed concern have gone missing. This is no great surprise when we discover that export licensing is overseen by none other than the secretary of state for international trade, Liam Fox. For Fox has “form” as a crazed stooge of Israel and a sworn enemy of Iran.

Fox, while secretary of state for defence, was quoted on the Conservative Friends of Israel website as saying:

… We must remember that in the battle for the values that we stand for, for democracy against theocracy, for democratic liberal values against repression – Israel’s enemies are our enemies and this is a battle in which we all stand together or we will all fall divided.

And in June 2015 Fox declared:

It is logical to assume that Iran’s intentions are to develop a nuclear weapons capability and any claims that its intentions are exclusively peaceful should not be regarded as credible… Iran’s nuclear intentions cannot be seen outside the context of its support for terror proxies, arguably the defining feature of its foreign policy. The risks are clear.

Fox was forced to resign as defence secretary in 2011 following scandalous goings-on between him, his “close friend” Adam Werritty, the UK ambassador to Israel and Israeli intelligence figures allegedly involved in plotting sanctions against Iran.

Liam Fox and his friend Adam Werritty

Liam Fox (left) and his friend Adam Werritty

Just lately, Prime Minister Theresa May has accused Iran of working with Hezbollah, interfering in Iraq, sending fighters to Syria to help Assad, and supporting the Houthis in the conflict in Yemen. The British government, of course, can meddle where it pleases and recently concluded another huge arms deal with the Saudis which, says Mrs May, is for the sake of long-term security in the Gulf. She argues that the same extremists who plot terror in the Gulf states are also targeting the streets of Europe: “Gulf security is our security.”

However, public pressure to end arms sales to Saudi Arabia is now so great that the government has adopted a new export licensing scheme that hides the value and scale of weaponry being supplied.

The reason for the British government’s current hostility towards Iran was plain from what David Cameron told the Knesset in 2014:

A nuclear armed Iran is a threat to the whole world not just Israel. And with Israel and all our allies, Britain will ensure that it is never allowed to happen.

That position carries forward into the present day and beyond, and serves as an excuse for the rednecks who rule our political swamp to carry on being unpleasant to the Muslim world.

After sucking up to Trump Britain rolls out red carpet to another of the world’s undesirables

Theresa May lost no time in welcoming the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, to London. The two leaders this week agreed to establish a new UK-Israel Trade Working Group to strengthen their existing trade and investment relationship and “to prepare the ground for a post-Brexit trade agreement”. What good that will do in the face of rising popularity among the public of boycotting everything Israeli remains to be seen.

Regional issues, including Syria and Iran, are to be on the agenda for discussion. And regarding Palestine May repeated the mantra that – “We remain committed to a two-state solution as the best way of building stability and peace for the future” – though she doesn’t say what that will look like.

Netanyahu also met Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and they sat alongside the desk on which the Balfour Declaration was composed in 1917. As for the forthcoming Balfour Declaration centenary celebrations, a statement said that May invited Netanyahu to attend events taking place in the UK “as a guest of government” and that Netanyahu “also invited her to visit him in Israel”.

Netanyahu didn’t miss the opportunity to warn that Iran “seeks to annihilate Israel” and called on nations to back renewed sanctions against the Iranian regime.

Israel’s ‘nest of spies’ in London

I looked up one of my old reports about how Craig Murray, a former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, argued five years ago that British policy was being driven in an underhand fashion by the Israel lobby. He linked Matthew Gould, the then British ambassador to Israel, with the Fox-Werritty scandal and raised questions about meetings between Gould, Liam Fox and Fox’s strange friend Adam Werritty. Werritty was referred to as Fox’s adviser but according to reports he was backed financially by Israel lobbyists and had no security clearance and therefore no authorised role.

Matthew Gould

Matthew Gould’s relationship with Liam Fox, his friend Adam Werritty and the Israeli intelligence service Mossad leaves many questions to be answered

Murray, with many useful contacts from his days as an ambassador, claimed to have serious evidence connecting Gould with a secret plan to attack Iran, but the Foreign Office and the Cabinet Secretary blocked questions. (To read Craig Murray’s story, “Matthew Gould and the plot to attack Iran”, click here.)

In it he pointed out that

Matthew Gould does not see his race or religion as irrelevant. He has chosen to give numerous interviews to both British and Israeli media on the subject of being a Jewish ambassador, and has been at pains to be photographed by the Israeli media participating in Jewish religious festivals. Israeli newspaper Haaretz described him as “not just an ambassador who is Jewish, but a Jewish ambassador”. That rather peculiar phrase appears directly to indicate that the potential conflict of interest for a British ambassador in Israel has indeed arisen.

He went on to say that Gould stood suspected of participating with Fox and Werritty “in a scheme to forward war with Iran, in cooperation with Israel”. The stonewalling by the Cabinet Office and Foreign Office led Murray to conclude that “something very important is being hidden right at the heart of government”.

Labour MP Paul Flynn remarked that no previous ambassadors to Israel had been Jewish so that a conflict of interest and accusations of going native would be avoided. He was immediately rebuked. Flynn also asked about meetings between Werritty and Gould, as some reports suggested that Gould, Werritty and Fox discussed a potential military strike on Iran with Mossad. “I do not normally fall for conspiracy theories,” said Flynn, “but the ambassador has proclaimed himself to be a Zionist and he has previously served in Iran.”

Fox had earlier made the idiotic claim: “Israel’s enemies are our enemies”, and the Jewish Chronicle hailed him as “a champion of Israel within the government”. Furthermore, Fox continually rattled the sabre against Iran which, of course, is no threat to Britain but regarded by Israel as a bitter enemy. Iraq too was Israel’s enemy, not ours. Yet Fox, according to the website TheyWorkForYou, voted “very strongly” for the Iraq war. He was also an enthusiastic supporter of the war in Afghanistan.

Given that Fox so eagerly waved the flag of a foreign military power and was a man with dangerous beliefs and demonstrably weak judgement, how could those who appointed him not see that he was unfit to serve as a Minister of the British Crown – unless they were similarly tainted?

When the Werritty relationship came to light Fox jumped before being flung from the battlements. But instead of melting into obscurity he has now been rehabilitated into the senior ranks of government and is once again a Minister of the Crown. And after watching the trail blazed by our former Jewish ambassador to the Jewish State, we now gawp with fascination at the inevitably messy conflicts of interest arising from Donald Trump’s pick for US ambassador to Israel – David Friedman, a Jewish lawyer with scant respect for international law or Middle East sensitivities.

Despite the strong whiff of misconduct, David Cameron rewarded Gould by making him head of the Office of Cyber Security and Information Assurance (OCSIA), which includes e-crime, working with private sector partners on exchanging information, and engaging with international partners in improving the security of cyberspace and information security. Did it seem right for such a person to be in charge of crucial security matters at the heart of our government? What was in fellow Zionist David Cameron’s mind when he appointed him?

Could it have had anything to do with the UK-Israel academic collaboration ventures with cyber research funding, which involve partnerships between British and Israeli universities and cover research areas such identity management, regulating cyber security, privacy assurance, mobile and cloud security, human aspects of security, and cryptography?

Both countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding on digital cooperation in March 2014. And Gould’s new appointment came at a time when the Cameron government was lecturing us on threats to national security and announcing plans to trawl through our personal emails and web browsers in order to “keep us safe”. Question was, who would trawl Gould’s private emails?

The vipers in our bosom

CAAT expects a decision on the judicial review on arms to Saudi Arabia in four to six weeks. In the meantime, an undercover Aljazeera investigation has revealed that a senior political officer at the Israeli embassy in London, Shai Masot, was plotting with stooges among British MPs and other vipers in the political snake-pit to “take down” senior government figures, including Boris Johnson’s deputy at the Foreign Office, Sir Alan Duncan, a noted sympathiser of the Palestinian’s struggle. This should have resulted in the expulsion of the ambassador himself, the Israeli propaganda maestro and Netanyahu’s pet, Mark Regev, who took up the post last year. Regev is the sort of person no sensible government would let into their country. But he was let off the hook and the affair hurriedly smoothed over with an announcement from the Foreign Office that the matter was closed.

Israel's UK embassy spy Shai Masot

Shai Masot plotted with stooges among British MPs and other vipers in the political snake-pit to “take down” senior government figures

Craig Murray, however, has been digging again. The Foreign Office deflected his many questions and dismissed the idea that Masot was anything more than a member of the technical and administrative staff at the embassy. “This is plainly a nonsense,” says Murray. “Masot, as an ex-major in the Israeli navy and senior officer in the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, is plainly senior to many who are on the Diplomatic List.” He concludes that the Foreign Office is complicit in

a large nest of Israeli spies seeking to influence policy and opinion in the UK in a pro-Israeli direction. That is why the government reaction to one of those spies being caught on camera plotting a scandal against an FCO [Foreign and Commonwealth Office] minister, and giving £1 million to anti-Corbyn MPs, was so astonishingly muted.

All this and the recent UN resolution 2334, which condemned Israel’s continuing squats on Palestinian land as illegal and an obstacle to peace, has done nothing to disturb the cosy relationship between Her Majesty’s Government and the obnoxious Israelis.

On the contrary, after May’s meeting with Netanyahu a Downing Street spokesperson said they focused on, yes, cyber security:

In their discussions, the prime ministers committed to working together to build on our longstanding relationship and the strong ties that already exist between our two countries in a wide range of areas, from trade and investment, to innovation and technology, and defence and security. They talked about the important work we do together on intelligence-sharing and cyber security, and committed to talk further about how we can deepen this cooperation, to help keep our people safe.

Sitting comfortably?

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The Battle for the EU – Liberalism vs. Illiberalism

Adelina Marini

It is again a crisis that drives the European Union towards a reconsideration of its state and towards change, as it has always been throughout its 60-year long life. Last year saw just the beginning of talks about the Union’s future after the Brits’ decision to leave it and the election of Donald Trump for US President acted as a catalyst on the debate, which is supposed to crystallise into an agreement about the future at the end of march on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome, which laid the foundations of the EU. Talks about the future began in September of last year in the Slovak capital Bratislava. There is not much time left until end-March and specific ideas are more reactive, rather than creative. Reactive towards the main challenges faced by the EU – the radical geopolitical change and the domestic political battle with populists.

At the informal EU summit in Malta on February 3 a “great degree” of convergence of opinions was announced that the EU should use opportunities, which open and close, as well as about the role, which the EU should play on a global arena following the inauguration of the new US President Donald Trump. How big is this degree of convergence and how long is it going to last is a very important question, keeping in mind that there are elections coming this spring in key EU countries – France and The Netherlands – and one should not forget that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán openly supports Donald Trump, thus undermining European unity.

An end must be put to the synergy between geopolitics and domestic politics

Over the last few weeks activity in certain politicians, member states, or groups of countries has increased significantly. Iconic example for this was the speech of the leader of the Eurogroup, Jeroen Dijsselbloem (The Netherlands, Socialists and Democrats), whose position currently hangs entirely on the result of elections in The Netherlands this spring. The many questions pointed at him about whether he will keep his post, as well as the support of his colleagues from the Eurogroup are probably the inspiration of his January 24 speech about the future of Europe, because its first part is entirely dedicated on the elections in various parts of the EU this year.

He expressed conviction that the next Dutch government will again be a coalition of centrist or moderate parties. There is also doubt that in Germany the populist Alternative for Germany party will be a part of any coalition. Dijsselbloem was optimistic regarding France as well. “My best guess is that at the end of this year Germany, France and the Netherlands will still be governed by mainstream, sensible politicians. Then will also be a good moment to push ahead on a number of topics regarding the future of the EU and the Eurozone”, he said.

The Dutch finance minister admitted that even if his optimistic forecast comes true, this by no means hails the end of populism. “I think it is here to stay, nourishing discontent and blaming the outside world. But we mustn’t forget that the vast majority of our population still places its trust in moderate parties, left or right. These mainstream parties will have to regain trust. The trust of their people that they will provide security and economic perspectives”, is Jeroen Dijsselbloem’s recipe. He believes the new Trump administration to be one more reason (besides the Brexit) for rethinking the EU’s position. “Geopolitical issues, defence and security, tax issues, the future of international financial institutions, and off course trade are now surrounded by question- and exclamation marks. Trump challenges Europe in many ways”.

Trump appears as a second focal point of anti-European politics besides Russia with statements, which caused waves of concern in member states, which have so far been living with no worries under the United States geopolitical wing. Now, however, the world is being divided up into remnants of the current reality and the alternative reality, created by Putin and Trump’s propaganda machines, each with his own goals. Their efforts find fertile ground in more and more political formations within the EU, which feel empowered to continue with the erosion of the Union until they gain full disintegration.

Prior to the Malta summit the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, who left the summit with a new nickname – “our Donald” described three threats faced by the EU, pointing out that the current EU challenges are “more dangerous than ever before in the time since the signature of the Treaty of Rome”. The first threat is the geopolitical situation. “For the first time in our history, in an increasingly multi-polar external world, so many are becoming openly anti-European, or Eurosceptic at best. Particularly the change in Washington puts the European Union in a difficult situation; with the new administration seeming to put into question the last 70 years of American foreign policy”.

The second threat, outlined by our Donald, is internal and it is linked to the anti-European, nationalistic, and the growingly xenophobic feelings within the EU itself. “National egoism is also becoming an attractive alternative to integration. In addition, centrifugal tendencies feed on mistakes made by those, for whom ideology and institutions have become more important than the interests and emotions of the people”. This remark has a very clear address – traditional parties and the pro-European forces, which in the eyes of our Donald have gone too far in pulling on the bowstring.

The third threat according to Donald Tusk is the mentality of pro-European elites. “A decline of faith in political integration, submission to populist arguments as well as doubt in the fundamental values of liberal democracy are all increasingly visible”, writes Donald Tusk to leaders with a call to “have the courage to oppose the rhetoric of demagogues”. Tusk warned that the disintegration of the EU would not lead to the reinstatement of “some mythical, full sovereignty of its member states”, but to real dependence on the great superpowers: The USA, Russia, and China. “Only together can we be fully independent”, believes the former prime minister of Poland, who hopes to get re-elected for a second term to the post of leader to the European Council.

Together, but in two speeds

The big surprise at the Malta summit came from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who until recently had been the unchallenged favourite to win a fourth consecutive term as Germany’s Chancellor, but now has some stiff competition in her strongly pro-European competitor in the left wing – Martin Schulz. The man, who until recently was boss of the European Parliament and managed to exalt the institution to the highest level of European politics and the decision-making process, seems to be an entirely acceptable competition for Mrs Merkel. Polls are already giving him advantage over the conservatives of Mrs Merkel, who was announced by large international media and analysts as the sole keeper of liberal order in Europe.

According to Angela Merkel, the time has now come for a multi-speed EU “in which not all member states are always at the same level of integration”. The idea of a multi-speed Union is not new by far and has long been fact, but the comment is symbolic for it shows that even Mrs Merkel has matured for the changes, which are being forced in the EU both from the outside and the inside. The statement of the German chancellor was not welcomed by everyone. Finland Prime Minister Juha Sipilä stated that a two-speed Union, in which some members will be moving faster towards integration than others, is not an answer. “We must strengthen our commitments to the EU’s common values and must find a way to proceed together at the same pace”, he said at the end of the one-day summit in Malta.

Support for a two-speed Europe were also cast by Belgium, The Netherlands, and Luxembourg, who came out with a joint statement after Malta. In it they state that the EU is more than the sum of its members and it needs to continue developing with its supranational structures and community method. The prime ministers of the three countries demand that the EU Treaties continue to be the foundation of future cooperation, which means enhancement of the four freedoms, common market, the social dimension, and a strong euro area. They want a Union, in which there is respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, and rule of law and human rights.

In their declaration the three states stress on the need to reinstate trust in the EU, which could be accomplished through fulfilling negotiated agreements and by making the decision-making process more transparent and democratic. To them it is of special importance that European law is being enforced in full, regarding rule of law in member states, because it “is critical to the internal market, the Schengen area and further development of the EU”. “Different paths of integration and enhanced cooperation could provide for effective responses to challenges that affect member states in different ways”, believe Belgium, The Netherlands, and Luxembourg.

Opposed to such an idea was the leader of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice Party Jarosław Kaczyński, regarded as the informal leader of Poland. He believes that a two-speed Europe will lead to a breakdown and the practical liquidation of the EU. At the same time, however, Poland is one of the states putting a brake to Union integration. Ever since the new government came to power, almost all legislative initiatives are being blocked, which provide for more integration, like the setting up of an European prosecution, which would fight against European funds’ fraud.

Europe of nations, or an European nation? No, Europe of values

Jarosław Kaczyński advocates for a looser Union, in which member states have control over all the power. Of the same opinion is Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who believes the EU wields way too much power, which needs to be returned to member states. This was the very subject of his regular summer speech in Romania. The same idea is supported by the French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, whose group in the European Parliament is called exactly Europe of Nations and Freedom. The first commitment in her election agenda is holding a referendum on leaving the euro area and the EU.

The other political current in the EU supports a deepening of integration and especially in the euro area. This is the feeling of southern member states, who met in end-January at a special summit in Lisbon. The leaders of Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal, and Spain believe that a weakening of Europe is not an option. To them the solution lies in deepening the currency union. The prime ministers of the seven countries expect “clear proposals” for the completion of the euro area and closing of the economic divergences and asymmetries in the currency club. They also place an accent on the necessity that the EU upholds its values of freedom, democracy, rule of law, and respect and protection of human rights.

If it comes to a two-speed EU it would mean isolation of states outside the euro area, as euinside has forecasted on numerous occasions. This is also the most logical step, for integration is deepest in the Economic and Monetary Union. In times of rapid disintegration of the current world order, however, that was based on the spreading of liberal democracy and open trade, the EU is not so much facing the choice of more or less Europe, but rather what Europe. It becomes clear from official and unofficial statements made so far that the EU will split by the values line – to a liberal and illiberal part. The latter is an obstacle for the development of the former. So it may turn out that after Rome the EU will take the shape of a rocket that disengages from its first, illiberal stage. Or rather from the states it does not trust.

It is exactly trust that the leader of the European Central Bank Mario Draghi talked about in Slovenia last week. He stated that the recipe for the survival of the EU in today’s tumultuous world is following the rules. “What is preventing us from moving ahead today is, in part, the legacy of those past failures, which creates a lack of trust among countries to enter into such a new stage of integration.Trust that all countries will comply with the rules that they have set for themselves, so as to reduce their mutual vulnerability. And trust that all will enact the necessary reforms to ensure structural convergence, so that complying with those rules becomes easier, and sharing risks does not create permanent transfers between countries. Compliance and convergence, and through it growth, are the keys today to give to the integration process new impetus.”

From everything said so far the conclusion is drawn that in Rome a reckoning of trust will be done – who trusts/distrusts whom, and the decision where to and how to continue will be secondary. There is less than a month left to the anniversary.

Translated by Stanimir Stoev

Posted in Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, SerbiaComments Off on The Battle for the EU – Liberalism vs. Illiberalism

Hillary Clinton Praises ‘Friend and Mentor’ Robert Byrd (a KKK Recruiter)

In this July 26, 2004 file photo, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, is embraced by Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., at a bookstore in New York where they were launching his book “Losing America: Confronting a Reckless and Arrogant Presidency.” (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

In 2010, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton fondly eulogized Sen. Robert Byrd, a former member and recruiter for the Ku Klux Klan. Clinton called Byrd “my friend and mentor” in a video message to commemorate his passing.

As a young man in West Virginia, Byrd was involved in the KKK and reportedly recruited 150 members to the group. While serving in Congress, Byrd set the record for longest filibuster on the floor of the U.S. Senate with a 14-hour filibuster of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

In a 2005 article titled “A Senator’s Shame,” the Washington Post’s Eric Pianin pilloried Byrd’s attempts to downplay his involvement in the organization as he grew older.

Despite his many achievements, however, the venerated Byrd has never been able to fully erase the stain of his association with one of the most reviled hate groups in the nation’s history.

“It has emerged throughout my life to haunt and embarrass me and has taught me in a very graphic way what one major mistake can do to one’s life, career, and reputation,” Byrd wrote in a new memoir — “Robert C. Byrd: Child of the Appalachian Coalfields” — that will be published tomorrow by West Virginia University Press.

The 770-page book is the latest in a long series of attempts by the 87-year-old Democratic patriarch to try to explain an event early in his life that threatens to define him nearly as much as his achievements in the Senate. In it, Byrd says he viewed the Klan as a useful platform from which to launch his political career. He described it essentially as a fraternal group of elites — doctors, lawyers, clergy, judges and other “upstanding people” who at no time engaged in or preached violence against blacks, Jews or Catholics, who historically were targets of the Klan.

His latest account is consistent with others he has offered over the years that tend to minimize his direct involvement with the Klan and explain it as a youthful indiscretion. “My only explanation for the entire episode is that I was sorely afflicted with tunnel vision — a jejune and immature outlook — seeing only what I wanted to see because I thought the Klan could provide an outlet for my talents and ambitions,” Byrd wrote.

While Byrd provides the most detailed description of his early involvement with the Klan, conceding that he reflected “the fears and prejudices I had heard throughout my boyhood,” the account is not complete. He does not acknowledge the full length of time he spent as a Klan organizer and advocate. Nor does he make any mention of a particularly incendiary letter he wrote in 1945 complaining about efforts to integrate the military.

That letter stated, “I shall never fight in the armed forces with a negro by my side… Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds.”

Long after Byrd claimed to disavow the KKK, he caused controversy and had to apologize for using the phrase “white niggers” in an interview. “There are white niggers,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of white niggers in my time, if you want to use that word. We just need to work together to make our country a better country, and I’d just as soon quit talking about it so much.”

Clinton’s embrace of Byrd during her time as a U.S. Senator — both literally and figuratively — has been a prominent meme among Donald Trump’s supporters at the Reddit community r/The_Donald. Members have creatively found ways to present a picture that shows Byrd’s Senate portrait photoshopped on an image of a man in Klan regalia — placed side by side with a 2004 AP photo of Byrd drawing in Clinton for a kiss.

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Hybrid Wars and the Geopolitics of South Atlantic Africa. The Russia-China Strategic Outpost

the-grand-chess-board 3

As the third-largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa and the continent’s number one oil producer, Angola seems set for a promising future. The country finally pulled out of a 27-year long civil war in 2002 and has been rapidly building up its infrastructure ever since, even if its economy still retained its energy-exporting dependence.

The economic crisis that’s been caused by the latest oil slump has given Luanda a pressing motivation to finally diversify its revenue base and begin exploring the manufacturing industry and steel production.

Only time will tell if this is too little too late or the right move at the right time, but the most fundamental component of Angola’s diversification strategy is its ambition to serve as a terminal point for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Zambia’s multinational railroad projects. Together these constitute the coast-to-coast Southern Trans-African Route (STAR) being spearheaded by China, which in turn reinforces the Chinese-Angolan Strategic Partnership and underscores the unparalleled importance of Luanda in Beijing’s continental grand strategy.

Benguela Will Brighten Angola’s Future

China’s New Silk Road vision for Africa encompasses much more that natural resource extraction. It in fact aims to facilitate the continent’s commercial capabilities in serving as a labor and export market for China’s overcapacity. African countries can only be in a position to purchase excess Chinese products if they themselves have a stable and growing economy, which is impossible to maintain under an energy export-centric system. Therein lays the strategic value of Chinese investments in Angola and the other countries of the South-Central, East, and Horn of African regions that are expected to be connected to the new transnational multipolar transport corridors that Beijing is financing and constructing all throughout the continent. Angola’s role in this ambitious construction is to function as STAR’s South Atlantic terminal via the colonial-era Benguela Railroad that China just rehabilitated last year.

Following its (re-)inauguration, Angola now has the potential of joining its Atlantic port of Lobito to the mineral-rich former Katanga region of the DRC, as well as to the Copperbelt Province of Zambia. Moreover, the construction of the Northwest Railway in the latter landlocked state would directly link Lusaka to Lobito, and in an even broader context, provide a safer alternative to the conflict-prone Congo in connecting Angola with Tanzania, or in other words, bridging Africa’s Atlantic and Indian Ocean coasts. In the event that a commercially viable transport interconnector can be created between Tanzania and Kenya, then the broader potential would emerge for Tanzania to establish a mainland trading route with Ethiopia via the LAPSSET Corridor. By extent, this would then make it possible for two of the continent’s largest economies of South Africa and Angola to conduct overland trade with its fastest-growing one in Ethiopia by means of the stable East African Community (EAC) transit states of Tanzania and Kenya.

Angola’s key to cashing in on this transregional real-sector economic corridor is the Benguela Railroad, and it’s the only infrastructural hope that Luanda has for sustainably augmenting its intra-African trade and not losing out on this historic opportunity for physically networking its economy with its continental counterparts. Given this supreme importance, it’s not hyperbole to state that Angola’s future is dependent on Benguela, since it’s only a matter of time before the energy bonanza dies out and/or the impoverished population becomes violently unhappy (due to foreign NGO prodding) with the rising income inequality that’s been piercingly aggravated by the present economic crisis. Without the sort of renewable economic opportunities that international transport infrastructure can bring to Angola, its entrepreneurs will have difficulty cost-effectively penetrating other markets. Even in the event that they opt for maritime trade routes across the cape and all the way to the other side of Africa, they’d lose out on competitively valuable time in doing so that could otherwise be optimized by relying on the new interconnected rail routes.

The Russian-Chinese Strategic Outpost In The South Atlantic


It has been comprehensively described how Angola fits into China’s larger plans for Africa, and that’s not even counting the fact that the country is Beijing’s second-largest supplier of oil, but Russia also has an interest in Angola, too. Whereas China’s focus is evolving from energy imports to multinational transport facilitation and real-sector investments, Russia’s is still concentrated on natural resource extraction and the global energy market in general. Moscow also maintains close military relations with Luanda dating back to the Soviet era, and it uses this strategic connection to reinforce its bilateral partnership and ensure that it’s not totally left out of the economic developments in the country. The confluence of Russia and China’s attention in Angola means that the South Atlantic country is host to a unique interplay of the global Russian-Chinese Strategic Partnership. This plays out through Moscow assisting with security and energy marketplace cooperation while Beijing reliably purchases the said energy supplies from Luanda and works on modernizing its real-sector economic potential.


Prior to addressing the traditional military-energy mainstays of the Russian-Angolan Strategic Partnership, it’s important to touch upon the recent commercial incentives that have emerged as a driving force in the bilateral relationship. The outcome of the Angola-Russia Intergovernmental Commission meeting in April was that both sides would work towards deepening their cooperation in the spheres of automobile technology, light and heavy industry, fisheries, manufacturing, mining, renewable (solar) and non-renewable energy, railroad components, and agriculture. It’s hoped that closer collaboration in these sectors can lead to an increase in bilateral trade from its present level of $244 million last year to something worthier of the high level of strategic relations that both sides presently enjoy, though that isn’t to say that this current state isn’t commendable as it is. One report writes that this rate is actually “four times more than the amount yield [sic] in the previous period”, which indicates that economic relations are already growing at an astronomical pace and will likely continue along a positive path for the coming future, though probably not in such an exponential way.


The most well-known characteristic of Russian-Angolan relations is their visible military cooperation, with the latest deal being signed in 2013 for the export of $1 billion worth of Russian jets, tanks, artillery, arms, and ammunition to the African nation. President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, Angola’s leader since 1979, visited the Kremlin and met with President Putin in 2006, while then-President Medvedev reciprocated the measure and went to Angola in 2009 during his tour of Africa. These leadership summits underscored just how important each side views the other, and they served to remind the world that Russia had not forgotten about Angola despite the collapse of the Soviet Union and the renunciation of their shared ideological ties of communism. Modern-day Russian diplomacy towards Angola is driven by military considerations just as much as it is by energy ones, and nothing illustrates this more clearly than a brilliant article written by Gustavo Plácido Dos Santos for Eurasia Review.


In “Russia’s ‘Charm Offensive’ In Africa: The Case Of Angola – Analysis”, the researcher writes that sub-Saharan Africa is already awash in oil and is expected to produce more gas than Russia by 2040, thus making it an attractive alternative source for non-Russian energy imports for the EU. He believes that Russia’s energy cooperation with Angola is centered on giving it a position in the hydrocarbon-rich Gulf of Guinea and thus allowing it to indirectly exert influence over the EU’s forthcoming reserve pool, ironically negating Brussels’ hope that the region would not in any way be under Moscow’s sway. This is a clever approach by Russia’s energy corps and perfectly supplements what the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Defense have in mind for Angola.

Leadership Assistance:

By becoming a greater energy power hand-in-hand with Moscow’s expertise and investment in this field, Luanda can then be in a better position to purchase more weaponry for defending its interests, with the combination of energy and military power leading to the inevitable expansion of political influence throughout the region. China’s assistance in guiding Angola’s transition from a vulnerable resource-exporting economy to a more stable commercially linked one via the New Silk Roads is integral to sustaining Luanda’s projected leadership, and it’s here where the Russian-Chinese Strategic Partnership again overlaps in the South Atlantic and gives the US yet another reason to want to sabotage Angola’s rise.

Angola’s African Power Plays

Angola is one of Africa’s fastest-rising powers, and it’s taken the opportunity to flex its muscles abroad on more than one occasion, even during the times that it was embroiled in civil war. Here’s a look at the instances in which Luanda make Angolan influence felt in different parts of Africa:

Shaba I and II:

Following the immediate post-independence crisis in the Congo, new leader Mobutu renamed his country Zaire forbade its mineral-rich and secessionist-prone southeastern province of Katanga from going by its original name, instead rechristening it as “Shaba”. The pro-American leader actively cooperated with the West in turning his country into the camp’s geostrategic African stronghold, and this naturally saw him extending support to the allied pro-American UNITA rebels fighting in Angola’s civil war. In response, the ruling People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) party and its Soviet and Cuban patrons are suspected of having aided the Zairean rebel group “Front for the National Liberation of the Congo” in their 1977 invasion of Shaba from Angolan soil. The US and France sent material and military support respectively and the invasion was repelled, but a follow-up attempt was made one year later in which France once again teamed up with the US in order to save their proxy.

São Tomé and Príncipe:

The former Portuguese colony in the Gulf of Guinea gained independence in the same year as Angola did in 1975, and only three years later it requested its fellow freedom fighter’s troops to quell a coup attempt in 1978. Relations have since been very strong between the two Lusophone states, and the islands are a priority vector of Angola’s grand strategy. Being situated where they are in the oil-rich waters right off the coast of Nigeria, they’re primed to be used as a launching pad for further Angolan influence along the waterway and around the West African bend. In fact, São Tomé and Príncipe is so significant to Angola because it represents the first node in a larger Lusophone chain of Sea Lines of Communication (SLOC) from Western Africa to the US and the EU, all of which are under varying degrees of Luanda’s influence.

Together with Cabo Verde (formerly Cape Verde until 2013) and Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé and Príncipe could one day collectively constitute a West African “string of pearls” along the maritime Silk Road, especially as multipolar-aligned Angola continues to receive assistance from the Russian-Chinese Strategic Partnership in its quest to become an African Power. Each of these states could fulfill their own respective logistical roles in hosting warehouses and storage facilities that facilitate the convenient transshipment of African goods to the US under the framework of the trade-enabling African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). A similar such agreement might be signed between the EU and different African countries or regions sometime in the future, at which time these Lusophone SLOC would become doubly important.

The only inadvertently negative consequence of Luanda’s rising influence in São Tomé and Príncipe is the potential that this has for sparking a strategic dilemma between Angola and Nigeria. This will be addressed at the end of this section, but the author would like to draw the reader’s attention to a comprehensive article written by the aforementioned Portuguese political scientist Gustavo Plácido dos Santo, this time called “Nigeria And Sao Tome And Principe: A Relationship Centered On Oil And Geostrategy – Analysis”. The researcher compiled a diverse collection of facts about the bilateral relationship between these two states, especially as it relates to the energy sphere and future anti-piracy security measures in the Gulf of Guinea, to postulate that Abuja has a discernable interest in the islands, but that Angola’s rising military and investment cooperation with the islands might lead to Nigeria feeling threatened.


MPLA hosted the South West African People’s Organization (SWAPO) which was fighting throughout most of the Cold War against apartheid South Africa’s occupation of what is nowadays called Namibia. During that time, the South African military regularly violated Angolan territory and participated in many battles with the country’s military. Angolan-Namibian ties continued to strengthen after independence and fortuitously provided a common geographic platform for bringing Luanda and Pretoria together as well, after which their relations finally began to take off at the turn of the century. It was right before that time that Angola and Namibia entered into a broader multilateral mutual defense pact in 1999 that also included Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). In order to explain the peculiarity of how rivals Angola and the DRC came to militarily support one another, a conversation must be undertaken about the First and Second Congo Wars that raged throughout the latter half of the 1990s.

First and Second Congo Wars:

Angola invaded Zaire in 1997 in order to avenge Mobutu’s decades-long support for the pro-American UNITA rebels. It wasn’t the first country to get involved in the fray, but its large-scale participation could be considered as a tipping point for the anti-Mobutu coalition due to Angola’s proximity to the country’s capital and the fact that it opened up a second Western front to accompany the first one in the East. Rwanda and Uganda had by that time already been streaming towards Kinshasa as part of their jungle blitzkrieg, and unable to fight a two-front war against such capable military foes, Mobutu abdicated shortly thereafter and the rebel chief Laurent Kabila became the country’s president, after which he renamed the country the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

His former Rwandan and Ugandan allies tried to turn him into their puppet right away but he rebelled and expelled their forces from his recently liberated country, which in turn sparked the Second Congo War. It was through this conflict which some have called “Africa’s World War” that Angola and the DRC became mutual defense partners and Luanda sent soldiers to Kabila’s aid. In the nearly two decades since, the relationship has had its ups and downs, such as when Angola and the DRC resolved the border dispute between them in 2007, but yet Angola still continued to kick out Congolese citizens en masse under the pretense that they were illegal immigrants.

It’ll later be seen when discussing the Hybrid War scenario of Kongo Kingdom Revisionism why this may have been a much more forward-looking strategic decision than the short-sighted reactive one that people thought it was at the moment, but for now it’s enough to say that state-to-state relations between Angola and the DRC are stable and improving despite the illegal immigration impediment. Each side is gradually bettering their connectivity and security cooperation with the other in light of the Benguela railway’s refurbishment and the associated cross-continental New Silk Road benefits that it will make available to both of them, and this can be expected to lead to even closer relations in the coming years that might eventually put to rest the low-scale rivalry that still exists between them.

Republic of the Congo:

Angola’s most daring military operation was probably when it sent its troops to back the rebels of former Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso in retaking the Republic of the Congo’s capital of Brazzaville in late 1997. No other foreign forces were involved in this campaign, unlike in the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo, but just like during the First Congo War, the rebels probably wouldn’t have prevailed had it not been for the Angolan intervention. Luanda’s strategic objective in this campaign was to install a friendly government in Brazzaville that wouldn’t provide aid and sanctuary to the Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (FLEC) that’s fighting for the independence of the barely discontiguous province north a few kilometers north of the Congo River.

Although obviously not a factor at the time, Angolan influence over President Nguesso could indirectly give Luanda another trump card over Kinshasa when it comes to the Chinese-supported trans-African routes being developed through the DRC. The Southern Trans-African Route (STAR) terminates at the Atlantic port of Lobito, while its northern counterpart, the Northern Trans-African Route (NTAR), will reach the ocean either at the poor and geographically unsuitable DRC port of Matadi or the deep-water and much more accessible Republic of Congo one in Pointe-Noire. Since Matadi isn’t foreseen to ever become anything more than a secondary backup to Pointe-Noire, the Republic of the Congo will ultimately hold the final say over the DRC’s transcontinental trade route, thus giving Brazzaville’s allied government in Luanda a say over Kinshasa by extent.


The last significant projection of influence that Angola partook in was in Guinea-Bissau, though this one was much more covert and barely made the headlines. The former Portuguese colony is situated along the forecasted Lusophone SLOC from Western Africa to the US and EU, and it’s also a notorious drug-smuggling point for South American cocaine to Europe. It’s so deeply enmeshed in the drug trade that The Guardian even declared it the world’s first “narcostate” in 2008, pointing to the fact that the fifth-poorest country in the world was practically controlled by Colombian cartels and their corrupt military partners.

The coup-prone country experienced a successful military seizure of power in 2012, ostensibly in reaction to what the plotters denounced as a “secret deal” between the Angolan and Bissauan governments for “Angola to attack Guinea-Bissau’s military”. To add some context to what might otherwise sound like an unsubstantiated claim, Angola had deployed 270 troops to the country to help reform the military and hopefully put an end to this institution continuously undermining the political authorities. Whether Luanda was indeed trying to ‘destroy’ the military through this format or not, they probably saw it as a threat to their future influence over the state, hence why they launched the coup and Angola withdrew its troops a few months afterwards (though the departure was announced a few days before the regime change unfolded).

Angola’s attention to this seemingly obscure state is driven by its shared colonial history, familiar Lusophone identity, and its strategic position along the SLOC. Luanda likely thought that it could easily reform the Bissauan military and turn the state into an outpost for projecting dual maritime-mainland influence. Whatever its motivation was in getting involved with Guinea-Bissau, Angola clearly failed to achieve its objectives, and while the two states have since normalized their relations and decided to strengthen them, it’s very likely that Luanda won’t engage in another power play there anytime soon. This doesn’t mean that the two countries can’t pragmatically cooperate on joint projects, but that the Angolan military will probably never be redeployed to the country again, thus preventing a repeat of the pre-coup events that sparked the regime change and keeping relations at a respectful level free from unnecessary distractions and future speculation.

An Angolan-Nigerian Rivalry?:

Angola’s rise as an African Power is pushing up against Nigeria’s future ambitions in the Greater Gulf of Guinea space and the broader West-Central African region in general, though it hasn’t yet gotten to the point of an observable rivalry between both sides. Angola and Nigeria have the potential to pool their capabilities and become the cores of a larger multipolar network throughout the whole of Atlantic Africa, and neither objectively has anything to fear from the other. It’s possible for a friendly competition to develop in which Abuja and Luanda stake out their own respective spheres of influence and then work on pragmatically integrating these areas into a collective framework that ultimately complements the multipolar vision for the continent. It’s still too early to tell which direction Angolan-Nigerian relations will go, but the US certainly has a stake in stoking a manufactured strategic dilemma between both sides and getting them to deeply distrust one another to the point of encouraging a divisive Cold War between them.

São Tomé and Príncipe is the perfect location for this to happen, just as Dos Santos warned about in his article for Eurasia Review. It would geographically make sense for the islands to partner more closely with Nigeria out of their common anti-piracy interest in protecting their oil-rich waters and the Joint Development Authority that they both share, but the socio-cultural factors connecting it to Angola might mean that Luanda could interpret any prospective security cooperation between the two as being against its interests or vice-versa vis-à-vis Abuja if São Tomé and Príncipe invites Luanda to take on this role instead. Right now the state of Angolan-Nigerian affairs in regards to São Tomé and Príncipe is calm and there seems to be no reason to worry, but all that it might take to change the situation is one or a few high-profile successful or attempted hijackings before the joint anti-piracy initiative that Dos Santos suggested would be brought to the fore of the Gulf’s geopolitics.

From Angola’s perspective, any relative Nigerian advances in what it believes to constitute its soft sphere of cultural-political influence (the Lusophone space), as well as over another oil-exporting country like itself (albeit nowhere near as big as either of these two), could lead to the eventual retreat of Angolan influence in similarly composed states (e.g. Guinea-Bissau and Equatorial Guinea) and scuttle Luanda’s plans for regional leadership. From the reverse angle, Nigeria knows that if Angola came out on top in any prospective competition for São Tomé, then it could indirectly gain influence in the waters of its strategically placed Exclusive Economic Zone, which a look at the map shows would essentially hem Nigeria in along its southern maritime periphery and give Luanda influence within close proximity to the country’s oil-producing Niger River Delta. If Angolan anti-piracy vessels started patrolling the nearby waters outside of any multilateral military understanding that included Nigeria, then it would certainly be assessed as a strategic threat in Abuja.

If the US succeeded in starting a Cold War between Angola and Nigeria for São Tomé and Príncipe, then it would directly play right into Washington’s strategic hands by having two of Africa’s West Coast powers face off against one another in a mutually disadvantageous scenario. Nigeria is already a weakened giant both because of its internal identity-political dysfunction and the resultant (Western-supported) outgrowth of Boko Haram, and even though Angola is clearly on the ascent, its rise could severely be hampered by an unnecessary and potentially costly rivalry with Nigeria. The US would prefer to have two embattled states contain one another and pick their rival apart than to have one or both of them peacefully succeeding and tilling the political landscape to make it more fertile for multipolarity. Seeing how Nigeria is currently beset with a multitude of serious problems stemming from Boko Haram and other regional threats such as the Niger Delta-based “Avengers” and similar criminal-separatist organizations, it’s going to be a while before it can ever return to substantially chasing its leadership ambitions, therefore leaving Angola as the last target in the duo for the US to destabilize.

Plotting Against Angola

Having established that Angola is a reliably stable country that endeavors for regional leadership on both the high seas (the Lusophone SLOC) and the continental interior (its involvement in the DRC and terminal role in STAR), one can conclude that the country is well on its way to becoming a cornerstone of multipolarity in Africa. Despite the structural risks that are still present in the economy due to its excessive revenue dependency on energy exports, the country has by and large remained on the positive trajectory that the MPLA civil war victors have laid out for it.

Even though long-serving and elderly President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has no clear political heirs, it’s feasible that his billionaire entrepreneur daughter Isabel (who also doubles as Africa’s richest woman and the current head of the state oil company Sonangol) might one day take up the reins and ensure strategic continuity, which in that case would reinforce the Russian position in Angola because of the fact that she was born in the USSR to an ethnic Russian mother and realistically retains a positive attitude towards her maternal homeland. Since it can be predicted that Moscow’s influence will only continue to rise within this country together with China’s, the US might seek to tap into its decades-long Cold War-era reserve of on-the-ground proxies to encourage a series of counteracting Hybrid Wars.

In relation to the ever-present threat of a Color Revolution and possibly preceded by or unfolding in coordination with it, these could take the form of a revived UNITA insurgency, Cabinda separatism, and Kongo Kingdom revisionism.

UNITA 2.0:


This Portuguese-era rebel group never stopped fighting after the colonialists departed, instead turning their guns on their MPLA rivals who were by then leading the newly independent country. This immediately threw Angola into the throes of civil war before it ever had a chance to know peace. UNITA ended up being heavily supported by the US and apartheid South Africa, while MPLA was backed up by the USSR and Cuba, the latter of which staged a dramatic years-long military intervention by sending tens of thousands of troops to assist its beleaguered socialist ally in Africa. The civil war between UNITA and the MPLA continued even after the Cold War had ended, though by the mid-1990s the US officially disowned its warlord proxies and joined the rest of the UNSC in sanctioning them for violating ceasefire accords.

This marked a turning point in the civil war and might have been influenced by the US’ realization that UNITA wouldn’t win and that it would be much better for Washington to team up with the MPLA instead of fruitlessly keep opposing it by backing the losing side. The US may have desired reliable access to Angola’s large oil sector, and whether or not this was indeed the full motivation behind the decision to drop UNITA, it turned out to play exactly to Washington’s favor in that regard over two decades after the fact. Following the Angolan military’s neutralization of UNITA founder Jonas Savimbi in 2002 and the end of the civil war that year, the US removed sanctions against the guerrilla group which had by that point legally transitioned into an opposition party, but its diplomatic support for the government in the final stages of the war and its abandonment of UNITA led to a breakthrough in bilateral relations most clearly manifested in the energy sector and the 2009 declaration of a “Strategic Partnership Dialogue”.

Energy Politics

The US is now Angola’s second-largest oil export market behind only China, and the South Atlantic state is the US’ 10th largest import source as of May 2016. Furthermore, when the US’ domestic fracking industry underperformed in the past year because of the energy crisis, Washington opted for replacing some of its lost production with an increase in Angolan imports. The two countries are evidently very close in this sphere, but it’s clear that the relationship isn’t so integral to the US that the country would be irreparably damaged if this was disrupted. This could be taken to mean that whatever Angola’s motivations might have been in allowing the US to become its second-largest oil purchaser, this state of affairs doesn’t in any way ensure that the country is safeguarded from American-supported destabilization. It’s true that the opportunity to provide the US a reliable backup source of oil was advantageous to both sides – the US was able to diversify its imports while Angola’s MPLA ruling party could “make nice” with their former enemy and bring in much-needed revenue directly from the dollar’s source – but there’s nothing in this relationship that can’t be substituted by another actor, such as the US depending more on Nigeria and Angola on China, for example.

Neither side inherently ‘needs’ the other, though their energy partnership is for now a win-win arrangement that could indefinitely continue so long as the US wants it to. There’s no sensible reason why the US would want to change this relationship except in the event that its domestic fracking production picks back up and Angolan imports are no longer required at their current level, but even then, it’s more prone to simply decrease its purchases and not overthrow the government. However, when analyzed from a broader strategic perspective, for as positive as the US’ relations with Angola presently are (especially in the energy sector), they’re not influential enough to get Luanda to use its exports to China as a proxy instrument of American pressure against Beijing. Therefore, aside from the already presumed Law of Hybrid War motivation for destabilizing Angola as a means of disrupting the multipolar transnational connective infrastructure project (STAR) running through its territory, the other reason that the US has for doing this is to create an opportunity for an allied political force to seize power and subsequently exert indirect American influence over China’s main African source of oil.

This by itself isn’t a coup de grace against Beijing, but combined with other energy-related Hybrid Wars all across the world, could contribute to crafting a future where the US in one form or another acquires the power to disrupt, control, and influence most of China’s foreign energy sources, which in that case would give Washington unthinkable leverage over Beijing and possibly even end the New Cold War with a unipolar victory. This is why the US might seek to support a second UNITA insurgency in Angola – not to ‘steal’ the oil for itself, but to establish a degree of control over it so that it could deny it to its competitors in the future, similar in essence to the reason why the US launched the War on Iraq. Behind the rhetorical polemics about “democracy” and “weapons of mass destruction”, one of the realpolitik ‘justifications’ other than geostrategically rearranging the Mideast was always for the US to directly or indirectly control its rivals’ oil, whether through an on-the-ground occupation or an allied proxy government, both of which did not yield the expected results for a wide range of reasons. Despite being an expensive failure in the Iraqi case, the strategic ‘reasoning’ behind the war is still attractive to the minds of the US’ zero-sum “deep state” decision makers, which is why they may be tempted to wage a Hybrid War on Angola.

The Insurgent Trigger

The most realistic circumstances under which UNITA might try to return to the forefront of domestic politics would obviously have to be after President dos Santos’ death or resignation. This is because the 2010 constitution stipulates that the president is no longer directly elected by popular vote, but that the leader of the winning party in parliamentary elections immediately assumes this office. It’s expected that the transfer of power from dos Santos to his future successor will serve as the trigger event for sparking a preplanned Color Revolution driven by demands for a “democratic vote” and other rabble-rousing liberal-progressive rhetoric designed to drum up easily manipulatable popular anger against the authorities. It doesn’t matter too much whether this is directed against scarecrows such as his daughter Isabel or perhaps even a ruling party apparatchik, because what’s important is that UNITA and its affiliated pro-Western NGO allies will work hard to channel the civil society energy that they’ve manufactured so as to improve their odds of ‘democratically’ seizing power.

Needless to say, the government won’t make an exception to the constitution just to please the ‘opposition’, so it’s not predicted that they’ll reinstitute presidential elections, though depending on the circumstances of dos Santos’ succession (whether he unexpectedly passes away in office or initiates a phased leadership transition), there might be early parliamentary elections (which in turn would lead to a new president). UNITA doesn’t stand a chance at winning them, though they’ll try to agilely ride the wave of social discontent amidst the ongoing economic (energy commodities) crisis in order to boost their previous showing of 18% in 2012. Unhappy with not winning the presidency, some of their members may then use the party’s defeat and the indirect elections to that office as the ‘justifications’ for taking back to the bush and waging a low-level insurgency, which they’d of course would expect to receive some level of American support (whether directly acknowledged or indirectly and covertly supplied). It’ll more than likely be the latter, and it doesn’t seem foreseeable that the US will at this time devote too many resources or attention to such a campaign aside from putting it on the backburner as an option to return to in the future whenever the subjective ‘need’ arises (such as the possibility for a grand bargain with China or to disrupt its Angolan energy supplies and STAR).

So as not to be misconstrued, the author is not necessarily predicting that UNITA will indeed take up arms once again, but is instead postulating the scenario under which this might be possible. In any case, it’s not expected that UNITA’s second insurgency will be anything like RENAMO’s in nearby fellow Lusophone Mozambique. The two rebel groups differ for a few reasons, including most importantly the fact that UNITA’s founder was killed in 2002 while RENAMO’s most prominent Cold War-era leader continues to live, lead, and fight. Another factor that can’t be overlooked is that UNITA doesn’t control or lay claim to any physical territory despite its history of support in the eastern regions (which is where they may return to in the event of a second outbreak of conflict), unlike RENAMO which operates in 6 provinces and controls swathes of territory outside the reach of government forces. The last point to be mentioned on this topic is that Angola is already an energy giant while Mozambique is on the path to becoming one. Luanda accordingly has much more money available at its disposal for state-of-the-art weapons purchases that would greatly enhance its ability to defend its sovereignty and carry out anti-terrorist operations against any forthcoming UNITA insurgents, while comparatively poorer Maputo isn’t yet strong enough to do any of this and is thus in a much more vulnerable position that could more easily be exploited.

Cabinda Separatist Crisis:


The exclave of Cabinda (inaccurately called an “enclave” by the main separatist organization) is but a tiny fraction of Angola’s territory and population, but it disproportionately produces 60% of the country’s oil. Luanda won’t ever let this territory go no matter what happens, yet this hasn’t stopped some from trying to fight for independence. The Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (FLEC) that was spoken about earlier in regards to the Republic of the Congo is the main rebel group operating in the province, and it’s formed from several insurgent organizations that joined together in 1963 in order to optimize their efforts at achieving the shared objective of future state sovereignty.


The way that they see it, the small exorbitantly oil-rich province is being denied what some locals feel is their fair share of the revenue proceeds, which instead must be sent to Luanda and divided amongst the other much poorer provinces. FLEC points to Cabinda’s identity and historical uniqueness relative to the rest of the country and the fact that the territory was briefly administered as its own separate colony by Portugal. They insist that if the oil revenue was concentrated in Cabinda, then the less than one million citizens that inhabit their prospective country would become unimaginably wealthy and achieve the sort of socio-economic development that they feel they’ve been deprived of for decades. Looked at from the opposite angle, the Angolan authorities view Cabinda as an integral part of their country and an irreplaceable source of wealth for the state as a whole. They could convincingly argue that the exclave’s resources have contributed to modernization and development all throughout the country, thus benefiting the greater good of Angolan nationhood as opposed to only a handful of people in a small sliver of land.


Regardless of which side is normatively ‘right’ in this conflict, objectively speaking, an upsurge in militant Cabindan separatist activity on whatever grounds it’s argued would have the most immediate potential for destabilizing the state. Angola depends much too heavily on Cabinda to not be affected by an incipient wave of violence there, and even though the oil rigs are far offshore and seemingly untouchable, that still doesn’t mean that disturbances in the mainland portion of the province wouldn’t impact on its maritime counterpart. All that it takes is one or a few high-profile piracy or missile attacks targeting one or some of Angola’s many Western offshore energy investments in order to create panic among the relevant community and engender an immediate and harsh military crackdown. The state rightly recognizes that instability in the jungled interior could thus lead to the inevitable outgrowth of coastal conflict, which is why they absolutely need to contain whatever violence might break out and prevent it from interfering with Angola’s offshore energy extraction.

There’s already evidence that a new wave of insurgent activity is about to strike Cabinda, as seen by FLEC’s surprise attacks against the Angolan military there at the end of July. According to the separatists, they killed 9 government troops and injured 14 in a jungle ambush, and they also called on international oil workers to leave the province. This is a clear statement of intent signaling that plans are already underway for a rebel offensive or return to guerrilla warfare in the coming future, though with foreign contractors likely remaining at their job posts and not heeding FLEC’s call, it seems all but inevitable that some of them will be taken hostage, kidnapped, or killed in the future as part of a dramatic attention-grabbing flare-up in the region. Even with increased private military and Angolan state-provided security, oil workers, their job sites, and barracks are just too soft of targets to be adequately protected at all times, so Angola and its partners need to brace themselves for the possibility that civilians will be caught in the crossfire of a renewed Cabindan secessionist conflict.


Under the present domestic and regional circumstances, the Angolan military is more than capable of dealing with a new Cabindan insurgency, but if this reaches its zenith concurrent with other crises in the country such as an oncoming Color Revolution during next summer’s parliamentary (and thus by indirect extent, presidential) elections, the authorities might be overwhelmed and taken off guard. Additionally, if the US’ succeeds in a future regime change operation in the Republic of the Congo (considering that its most recent lackluster one failed) or the neighboring DRC, then either of these countries could come under the control of American-influenced client regimes that thus become “Lead From Behind” participants in the militant campaign for Cabindan independence. That would not only increase the rebels’ chances of success – whether in achieving independence, drawing the Angolan military into a quagmire, or carving out ‘liberated’ territory (no matter how small) – but it would also spike the possibility of state-to-state violence between Luanda and whichever of the two neighboring governments provides aid to FLEC. This would consequently internationalize the secessionist crisis and massively complicate Angola’s peaceful rise to regional leadership.

Kongo Kingdom Revisionism:


The last Hybrid War scenario in Angola is the least likely to occur in the short-term, but might be the most destabilizing if it suddenly pops up amidst a Color Revolution, a second UNITA insurgency, an intensified Cabindan separatist campaign, or a combination thereof. To explain, approximately 8% of Angolans are of the Bakongo ethnicity, with most of them being concentrated in the northern provinces of Zaire (which is coastal and well-endowed with offshore oil reserves and an LNG processing facility) and Uige where they form a majority of the population. These two regions used to be part of the pre-colonial Kongo Kingdom, which also stretched into Cabinda, the Bas-Congo province of the DRC, and areas of the Republic of the Congo (which is nearly half Bakongo).

Foundational Concept

It’s very difficult for outside observers to gauge the sense of transnational ‘identity togetherness’  that this demographic feels and the potential for it to be politicized into a separatist movement, but it can generally be assumed that foreign-directed NGOs would be instrumental in consolidating this sentiment and manipulating it for geopolitical gains. One of the most probable starting points for the weaponized information campaign of Bakongo nationalism would be the historical experience of the National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA) rebel group during the civil war period. This organization played a much lesser role than UNITA did, but it nonetheless is relevant in this context for having brought together many Bakongo people under a shared militant banner. When taken together with the historical memory of the Kongo Kingdom, the FNLA functions as the military-political tool for actualizing this territorially revisionist project, no matter if it’s organizationally spread across the tristate region or concentrated in the Angolan-DRC borderlands.

Cross-Border Trouble

The author wasn’t able to find information about any active Bakongo separatist groups in Angola (other than FLEC, with Cabindans being a part of this civilization), but there was one organization in the DRC which repeatedly came up throughout the research as a group to watch. The Bundu dia Kongo (BDK) has been involved in several violent provocations against the Kinshasa authorities, and their main objective is to create a sovereign Bakongo state out of the Bas-Congo province. Clearly, though, this would naturally extend into Angola, both in Zaire and Uige provinces and Cabinda, so the group must automatically also be seen as a threat to Angola’s sovereignty alongside the DRC’s. BDK is troublesome for both states because it could catalyze a conflict between them, whether one in which both governments are fighting the same allied network of interrelated cross-border insurgents or a scenario through which an expansionist regime-changed pro-American DRC uses the group as a proxy lever for destabilizing Angola on America’s behalf.


Both possibilities could happen, with the first one occurring either under the already existing conditions or amidst the type of total-state breakdown that will be discussed in the next chapter about the country, while the second might happen if the DRC decides to devolve along the lines of an “Identity Federation” (whether on its own prerogative or in response to another civil war). If the aforementioned political reconstitution enters into force, then it could be safely inferred that the Bakongo would receive their own quasi-independent statelet in Bas-Congo province which could then be used as a springboard for a revived FNLA Bakongo nationalist movement in Angola. This would naturally merge with the Cabindan separatist campaign that was described above in order to throw most of Angola’s northern borderland into conflict, thereby jeopardizing the government’s oil revenues in Cabinda and Zaire provinces. Ironically, this would be a ‘reverse-Shaba’ in the sense that it wouldn’t be Angolan rebels invading the DRC’s restive Katanga province, but Congolese DRC ones invading the Bakongo frontiers of Angola.

Even though the Benguela railway doesn’t run through any of the forecasted operational areas, it would likely be used in this scenario as an instrument of blackmail by Kinshasa owing to Luanda’s future real-sector economic dependency on this route, which would then in that case totally disrupt China’s cross-continental New Silk Road plans for this part of Africa and fulfill the strategic objective of Hybrid War. Moreover, because of Luanda’s proximity to the DRC border and the Bakongo-majority-inhabited areas of its own internal borderland, if military forces in the DRC ever got powerful enough either in a nationwide sense or a non-state regional one like in Bas-Congo province with the BDK, then they might be able to decisively threaten the Angolan capital under the pretense of staging a ‘humanitarian intervention’ for the Bakongo and thus indefinitely hold out the Damocles’ Sword of regime change over the MPLA.  There is nothing to indicate that this would happen anywhere in the coming future, but it’s still a strategic risk that Angolan policy makers should monitor just in case, as the geopolitical foundation for this danger will never change so long as the borders and their related demographics remain the same as they are today.

To be continued…

Andrew Korybko is the American political commentator currently residing in Moscow. Thew views expressed are his own. He is the author of the monograph “Hybrid Wars: The Indirect Adaptive Approach To Regime Change” (2015). This text will be included into his forthcoming book on the theory of Hybrid Warfare.


Hybrid Wars 1. The Law Of Hybrid Warfare

Hybrid Wars 2. Testing the Theory – Syria & Ukraine

Hybrid Wars 3. Predicting Next Hybrid Wars

Hybrid Wars 4. In the Greater Heartland

Hybrid Wars 5. Breaking the Balkans

Hybrid Wars 6. Trick To Containing China

Hybrid Wars 7. How The US Could Manufacture A Mess In Myanma

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Extremely High Radiation Breaks down Fukushima “Clean-Up Robot” at Damaged Nuclear Reactor


A clean-up mission using a remotely operated robot at Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant has had to be aborted, as officials feared they could completely lose control of the probe affected by unexpectedly high levels of radiation.

The robot equipped with a high-pressure water pump and a camera designed to withstand up to 1,000 Sieverts of cumulative exposure had been pulled off the inactive Reactor 2 at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex earlier this week, The Japan Times reported Friday, citing the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). The device reportedly broke down just two hour into the probe.

The failure led experts to rethink estimated levels of radiation inside the damaged reactor.

While last week TEPCO said it might stand at 530 Sieverts per hour – a dose that can almost instantly kill a human being, following the latest aborted mission a company official has said a reading of up to 600 Sieverts should be “basically correct.”

Even despite the considerable 30-percent margin of error for the revised estimate, the latest probe left no doubt that radiation levels are at record highs within the reactor. Even though it cannot be measured directly with a Geiger counter or dosimeter, the dose is calculated by its effect on the equipment.

Last month, a hole of no less than one square meter in size was discovered beneath the same reactor’s pressure vessel. The apparent opening in the metal grating is believed to have been caused by melted nuclear fuel, TEPCO then said.

The recent mission has demonstrated that the melted fuel is close to the studied area.

While extreme radiation levels have been registered within the reactor, officials insist that no leaks or increases outside have been detected.

The failure might force Japan to rethink the robot-based strategy it has adopted for locating melted fuel at Fukushima, according to The Japan Times.

The robot affected by radiation was supposed to wash off thick layers of dirt and other wreckage, clearing ways for another remotely controlled probe to enter the area, tasked with carrying out a more proper investigation to assess the state of the damaged nuclear reactor. Previously, even specially-made robots designed to probe the underwater depths beneath the power plant have crumbled and shut down affected by the radioactive substance inside the reactor.

Fukushima reactor’s radiation levels killed a cleaning robot 

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant suffered a blackout and subsequent failure of its cooling systems in March 2011, when it was hit by an earthquake and tsunami. Three of the plant’s six reactors were hit by meltdowns, making the Fukushima nuclear disaster the worst since the Chernobyl catastrophe in Ukraine in 1986. TEPCO is so far in the early stages of assessing the damage, with the decommissioning of the nuclear facility expected to take decades.

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